May 22, 2016-Trinity Sunday

May 18, 2016 | by Leah Laird

Reading 1 Reading 2 Reading 3 Reading 4 Reading 1 Alt Reading 2 Alt
Proverbs 8:1-4 & 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15

The Divine in Community

There are several ways in which the creation taps into the divine: through the creator, through the human (Jesus), and through the divine spirit. How each of these work with each other and what exact role each has to play has been a subject of debate and division since the early church. Fortunately there are many who make it a life focus to understand these workings. For us, the task is simple (ha!). We are set to read what the text says about each. Perhaps in this humble task we will learn a little more about our own relationship with the divine and our place in the sacred community.

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

In the opening of Proverbs 8 we have the introduction to a speech by Wisdom in which Wisdom cries out to humanity. She is here the counter to Folly in the previous pericope. But who is Wisdom? In vv. 22-31 she describes herself. She was with the creator from the beginning. They worked in tandem to create, she remained in the divine presence, and rejoiced, delighted in the creation. Nili Shupak (2011) and Katharine Dell (2009) have both written articles that address the possible Egyptian influence concerning the ladies Wisdom and Folly. Additionally (or alternately), many scholars of the Hebrew Bible see this figure as a metaphorical tool used to instruct youth in ways of the world.

However, as one reads through Proverbs 8, one cannot help but see parallels to Jesus in John 1:1-4 and the spirit in 16:7. The author of the book of John is not concerned so much with the context of the Proverb he alludes to. Rather, he is concerned with the fact that those reading his text know and understand that he sees the creator as being in creative community with both Jesus and the spirit.

Psalm 8

In Psalm 8 the reader is reminded of the greatness of the creator. This is displayed both in recalling the grandness of creation and the benevolence of the creator in choosing to be in community with creation—the creator as benefactor, the created as trustee.

Romans 5:1-5

Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Romans, works in chapter 5 to describe the relationship between all parties in the divine community – creator, Jesus, spirit, and created.

It is through the deity’s relation ship with Jesus we find peace; it is through the spirit we receive love. Yet let us be careful to not say these are clearly defined roles, which the one or the other cannot perform—the divine is greater than our definitions.

John 16:12-15

Earlier in the chapter the disciples are promised one who will act as the helper (reference above with regard to Proverbs 8). Here the author offers a small description of the relational, interactive divine in community with each other and humanity. As Wisdom speaks to humanity in Proverbs 8, so the helper speaks on behalf of the creator and Jesus in John 16.